Bowden Press Conference Notes

CLEMSON - Tommy Bowden met with the media Tuesday to preview Thursday's game between 10th-ranked Clemson against Virginia Tech.

As you look at tape of Virginia Tech, does it stand out that they are a dominant team on special teams?
Bowden: I just think they are kind of, the last 10 or 12 years, they are known as the most productive team in the country at blocking punts and field goals. I've never watched them practice so I don't know how it's orchestrated but they get results. They are the top the team that gets results in that area. So yes. Looking at this year's tape it looks to be the same.

Chan Gailey said that they could have used more eight-man fronts Saturday and that other teams would likely do that to you as you go along this season.
Bowden: They (Virginia Tech) play a lot more zone than Georgia Tech. This is a true four-man front, eight man concept. Bud Foster has been doing it for years and been very successful. When you bring eight or nine, when you break the first level, there's going to be a big run. No. 28 showed us that. They can find different ways to commit eight. If we are playing any team that has the ability to give you multiple 8-man front looks. That's their base.

With the short week, have you had a difficult time motivating this team, especially after a big win over Georgia Tech?
Bowden: The thing that helps you in this regard is that it's a nationally televised game. Players like to play in that environment. I saw where James said he likes to play at night and this is another night game. I think turnovers would be a big key in a game like this just like it was against Georgia Tech. Two equal teams that use different styles and approaches.

What do you remember about the last time you played up there?
Bowden: They generate a lot of noise the last time we played up there and this will be another Thursday night game. They are loud, and they support it and there will be a large crowd there. Will crank up the crowd noise today at practice.

There seems to be the idea that teams are going to start to challenge you to throw the ball more in the second half of the season. Your thoughts on that?
Bowden: Well Boston College had trouble. We threw for 340. I'm sure they've got that tape. We had 215 against Wake. That's 800 yards in three games against pretty good defenses. So we've shown the ability to throw it when we have to. That's pretty significant against three pretty good teams.

How much has Chansi Stuckey been missed especially with some of the underneath routes?
Bowden: I don't think we've missed him. Since he's been gone, we've led the nation in scoring while he was here we hadn't. So I hope he gets back soon but not too fast. Chansi is close to 100%. Maybe he's doing my job and withholding information. Cold weather may affect him. He's further along than James Davis.

Comments on James Davis and his injury situation.
Bowden: Speaking o James, he practiced yesterday but did not do anything. I'd say he's 50-50. It's probably a game day decision on whether or play or not. Reggie Merriweather is 100%. It's the same shoulder.

You are 1-6 on Thursday night television. Why is that?
Bowden: Well we won our last one. I think it's the quality of the competition.

Have you talked to Roman Fry since the injury?
Bowden: I just talked to him a little bit yesterday about being hurt and traveling with us and remaining a part of a team.

Do you think the cold weather affect James' shoulder?
Bowden: I don't know. You know you get on the sideline and you see the television cameras are there and the sideline. Is Erin Andrews working the sideline? Then he'll probably play.

Is it bittersweet season for you considering your father is struggling at Florida State?
Bowden: Yeah it is. The Georgia Tech game you couldn't enjoy that much. You don't enjoy it much. Blood is blood. It's hard to separate it. You know exactly what they are going through.

Is James' injury something that would require surgery on down the line or something that will go away?
Bowden: I think Thomas Hunter's may be more like Charlie's (Whitehurst). He's (Hunter) going to get an MRI today. I don't think James' is. But if it continues then we have to have a MRI. I believe that all the preliminary work indicates that he won't.

You've had some success at Tulane and Auburn during your career. You've had special seasons at both of those schools. Do you get the same sense here at Clemson this year?
Bowden: We had just a little streak at Tulane. There's a certain feel you get with a team like I had the second year at Tulane and the second year here. Success breeds confidence. The players know how to practice and know how to behave themselves. You sense that as a head coach. Even with my brother at Auburn when they went 11-0.

Do you feel like that now?
Bowden: Yes. I do. But winning helps you feel like that. When you keep winning your confidence increases also.

Do you feel like you have more depth now than at any point during your time at Clemson given all the injuries you've had?
Bowden: Yeah. At this point in time. I think we can surely improve because there are teams you have to compete in this conference that are a little more talented than we are. But I have to point out that at Tulane, Auburn we had nowhere near the number of injuries we've had this year.

Have you talked to your brother Terry about getting back into coaching given the changes that could be taking place?
Bowden: I talked to him yesterday because he's got some good football knowledge and wisdom. It was me asking him for advice on certain aspects of my program. But I didn't talk to him about jumping back into coaching. I really didn't. It seems like a few months ago that he said he might entertain it.

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